I was lucky enough to spend the weekend with some girlfriends in sunny Queensland! Much earlier in the year some cheap flights were advertised and we decided to book a girls weekend in this sunny city to enjoy cocktails, great food, fabulous company and LOTS of shopping!! The weekend did not disappoint! You would usually expect shopping and city nightlife in Melbourne or Sydney and then head to Queensland for beaches and family holidays - but we had a fab city get away and enjoyed the sun at the same time. Brisbane has lots of stylish hot spots and a huge range of chain stores, department stores and boutiques!
To maximise our time away, we booked the very early flight to Brisbane so I had a wakeup call from Kapiti Coast Shuttles up at 3.30 am on Friday and they picked me up ten minutes later. Eeeek it was early!!! I was worried about how I would last the day, but coffee and food stood me in good stead and we enjoyed a full day in Brisbane and great dinner out that night too.
We stayed at the Sebel Suites. Brisbane has no shortage of apartment hotels, but we chose this one because a two bedroom apartment is actually made up of a hotel room and an adjoining one bedroom apartment. This meant we had tons of space, two bathrooms and two big bedrooms that could both have twin beds as well as a fold out sofa in the lounge. We had full kitchen facilities which we didn't use other than to make a cup of tea, but this would be really handy if you were travelling with kids. The location was fab! Top Shop was virtually across the road and we were only a couple of minutes walk from the Eagle Street Pier dining precinct on the river.
The weekend consisted of shopping, drinking and eating.
We started off by hitting the chain stores to pick up some essentials - Target, H&M, Top Shop, David Jones and Ikea. It was frantic but we were rewarded by great basics. After two days of exhausting ourselves in that world of crazy shopping business, we spent Sunday hanging out in the upmarket, but relaxed James Street precinct. This is a must see area of Brisbane. Gorgeous shops, fresh food markets, cool cafes and bars. Fabulous design stores inspired with their eclectic mixture of furniture, artwork and accessories. St Barts, Kova & Mozi were my fav's and I will definitely be back to visit the huge West Elm and Pottery Barn stores that are opening 1st October - I can't believe we missed these by two weeks!!
Eating out was the highlight of the weekend. First off lunch at Jamie's Italian. I've been wanting to try one of Jamie Olivers rustic Italian restaurants for years so when we hit the wall after the early flight followed by a morning of shopping, we were thrilled they could squeeze us in for lunch. The food was beautiful. We all had a different freshly made pasta. My ravioli was delicious but if I make it back again I will be trying the carbonara which looked amazing! While we were feasting on carbs and recharging with a mojito, we were also loving the decor. There was extensive use of lots of different tiles, and an eclectic mixture of tables, chairs and amazing lights. It is a huge restaurant spread over two levels but there are lots of different seating and bar areas and the industrial styled space is jammed full of so many features it doesn't feel empty or too big at all. We finished off with a delicious Affogato - with the excuse that the coffee would keep us going for the afternoon. Overall the service at Jamie's was probably the worst we experienced over the weekend which was really disappointing. The staff didn't reflect the enthusiasm and passion that you can imagine Jamie Oliver expecting. But the food and decor made up for this and we had a great lunch. If I come back to Brisbane with my family I will definitely be bringing the kids here. It would be a perfect dinner or lunch spot that would keep everyone happy. The kids menu's were super cool - viewed on a retro view finder toy - there were colouring in supplies and they would leave happy with a free badge too.
Dinner at Jellyfish was outstanding. One of Brisbanes' top restaurants, it commands a large site on the Eagle Street Pier. We had a gorgeous table outside with views of the river and Story Bridge. Our waiter was enthusiastic, down to earth and really friendly. He even provided us with extra fish balls after we devoured the delicious amuse bouche! The menu is extensive specialising in fish cooked in many different styles - you can specify the cooking style and chose from various batters, crumbs, sauces and sides to essentially design your own main. Delicious. The cocktails were fab and so was the creme brûlée!
Next morning we wandered around the city looking for somewhere to sit outside and have brunch. The Brisbane Cafe at Brisbane Square is in a wide open space next to the colourful Brisbane library. The menu was divine and the service was fab. Breakfast was amazing - smashed avocado & goats cheese on sour dough with dukkah and a squeeze of lemon. So fresh and delicious! Sunday morning we ended up having almost the exact same breakfast at a local spot in New Farm called Bitter Suite. We had a lovely table in the sun on a tree lined neighbourhood street. Bitter Suite looks like it would be a fab pub with tons of beers and ciders on tap, a relaxed atmosphere and great staff. We had our best coffee of the weekend here - so good that we had to have another one.
New Farm was probably my favourite spot in Brisbane. A really lovely leafy neighbourhood on the fringe of the city with amazing shops in the James Street precinct, and then lots of neighbourhood cafes and bars dotted on street corners. We had an amazing meal at Chow on Saturday night. Such a great, lively atmosphere. Beautiful decor in the footpath courtyard with vertical gardens and hanging pendant lights. We shared lots of little plates with their pork belly pancakes being the best. Sunday afternoon looks like a great time to hit neighbouring bar Sixes and Sevens. We loved sitting in the sun enjoying our last drink of the weekend watching lots of hip locals meet up with friends for the afternoon.
Oh my goodness if you're a chocolate fan like me - you will LOVE the Noosa Chocolate Factory. They have four locations throughout Brisbane and its definitely worth hunting them down if you are in town. They make small, fresh batches of chocolate daily in their Noosaville factory. Rocky Road is a speciality along with all sorts of chocolate covered fruits and nuts. I brought home a few slabs of the peppermint chocolate brittle, honeycomb and coconut rough. YUM!
There was so much laughter in our weekend along with all our eating, drinking and shopping. It was awful saying goodbye to my good friend Jo who was a wonderful, local companion for us Kiwi girls. Thank you Jojo for your brilliant company, can't believe the only photo we took was at the airport drop off!
The only good thing about coming home from a weekend away shopping, is unpacking!! Here are some of our favourite purchases of the weekend. Best tip for packing is to put what you take with you into a carry on bag, then pack this into an empty suitcase. On the way home you can have the suitcase full and take your carry on bag on board with you! Worked a treat! We flew into Wellington at 12.35 and luckily Kapiti Coast Shuttles were there waiting for me again as I don't think I would have coped with the drive home. After such a jammed back busy weekend I'm feeling surprisingly refreshed today! Thats what good company, good food and a hotel bed to yourself does!!
Unpacking is one of the best things about coming home, todays wintery weather makes me wonder when I'll get to wear these things but here are some of our favourite purchases from the weekend!
This blog post is not sponsored by Queensland Australia, the City of Brisbane, the Sebel Suites, Air New Zealand, Kapiti Coast Shuttles, H&M, Ikea, Witchery, Smeg or Top Shop ... but boy do I wish it was!!